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ONLINE: Virtual Panel: Meet the Ski Jumping Legends
May 20 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Join the National Nordic Museum for a virtual conversation with ski jumpers Ragnar Ulland and Ron Steele as they discuss the thrills and challenges of the sport. This talk is in conjunction with the exhibition Sublime Sights: Ski Jumping and Nordic America at the Museum. The talk is moderated by Kirby Gilbert, a ski historian with the Washington State Ski and Snowboard Museum on Snoqualmie Pass, and John Lundin, an author and ski historian with the Washington State Ski and Snowboard Museum on Snoqualmie Pass.
Cost: Free; RSVP required
About the Ski Jumpers:
Ragnar Ulland grew up in Norway and started his ski jumping career as a child. At age 14, in 1952, he came to Seattle to join his father and other Ullands who had planted roots here.
During Ragnar’s first ski season in Washington state, he earned five first-place finishes in the Northwest, and the next year, at age 16, he began jumping in Class A events—consistently taking second in tournaments, even beating his legendary Uncle Olav. In 1955 he won the National Junior Ski Jumping Championships at Leavenworth where he tied the hill record with a standing leap of 284 feet. With a fourth-place win at the tryouts for the upcoming Winter Olympics he landed a coveted spot on the U.S. Ski team.
Competing for the U.S. at the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina, Italy, Ragnar was age 18, a senior at Seattle’s Roosevelt High School, and the youngest member of a U.S. ski jumping team to ever compete in the Olympics.
Today, Ragnar is retired in Mt. Vernon, where he looks back favorably on his ski jumping days and sometimes makes trips back to Norway to visit his Kongsberg relatives and friends.
Ron Steele was born and raised in Leavenworth, Washington, one of the state’s center for ski jumping from 1928 through 1978, where his entire family was deeply involved with the Leavenworth Winter Sports Club. Ron made his first jump at 5; won his first ski trophy at eight (in slalom). At age 14, Ron entered Junior Class competition, and advanced to jump n Leavenworth’s 90-meter hill at 15.
Ron was selected for the U.S. Winter Olympic Team at the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan, where he placed highest of the finishing Americans in the Large Hill competition.
Ron was a member of the U.S. Ski jumping Team from 1972 to 1977. In 1974, he won the U.S. National Jumping Championship at Leavenworth and competed at the World Championships in Sweden. Ron was inducted into the American Ski Jumping Hall of Fame in 2008; the Inter-Mountain Ski Hall of Fame in 2016.
Ron spent most of his career working for Group Rossignol, becoming its president in 2021. He is now retired, living in Salt Lake City, Utah, and will soon become the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Alf Engen Ski Museum Foundation in Park City, Utah.